Four hundred middle and high school students descended on Virginia State University for a daylong high energy robotics contest that tested their teamwork and ingenuity. The FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) South Central Qualifier was the last of seven regional events across Virginia.
Top performing teams advanced to the Virginia State FTC Championship.
“Thanks to VSU, the FIRST Tech Challenge South Central event was incredible and enjoyed by teams from all over Virginia,” said Carol Edelman, VirginiaFIRST Director, Program Development and Outreach. “It’s a pleasure to partner with organizations who share our commitment to inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.”
Forty teams from around the region competed at VSU’s Daniel Gymnasium and 10 top-performing teams qualified for the state championship. The 10 advancing teams were from Dinwiddie Public Schools, Henrico H.S., Glen Allen H.S., Warwick H.S., St. Gertrude H.S., and Western Albemarle H.S. In addition, four teams from Battlefield H.S. in Prince William County qualified at VSU for the state championship.
Teams designed and built their robots last fall. This year, they competed in a contest called “Ring it Up!” which challenged their remote controlled robots to gather and hang plastic rings on a multi-level rack.
Students who participate in FIRST programs are not just having fun; team members in high school also qualify to be considered for more than $16 million in college scholarships.
The VSU event was coordinated by the University’s Service-Learning & Civic Engagement Program. More than 140 VSU students volunteered at the event and VSU faculty members Dr. Jacqueline Burleson, Dr. Hui Chen, Dr. Ju Wang and Dr. Zhenhua Wu served as judges.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international organization with the ambitious mission of transforming modern culture by celebrating science and technology and encouraging more students to be interested in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
For more information go to www.virginiafirst.org